City Council votes to strip businesses of parking spots in Royal Oak on Delemere Blvd

In an industrial part of Royal Oak, some parking spots have been there for decades. But now the city is looking to make repairs on this street and ultimately take the spots away.

"This one is a little tough to swallow," said Jim Wyss, owner, Olsen Manufacturing. "It’s just going to make it hard to do business that’s all."

Nearly all business owners on Delemere Blvd. are in agreement when it comes to store-front street parking, they want things to stay the way they are. 

"It’s been part of the way we do business for decades," Wyss said.

But the Royal Oak City Council has other ideas. 

"This whole corridor needs a facelift, it’s in bad condition," said Holly Donoghue.

During Monday’s council meeting, Donoghue, a city engineer, says a lot of these spots were never authorized by the city. And while the spots may have been here for decades, it could be time for a compromise. 

"These areas allow for a loading zone, customer parking, all at the expense of safety," Donoghue said.

"In all technical basis, they are there illegally," said Mayor Michael Fournier. "I understand people bought property, bought buildings, and they weren’t aware."

"The fire department noted that they use Delemere Blvd and they said they would appreciate not having vehicles backing up from their driveways," Donoghue said. 

So the city is proposing a $700,000 renovation to beautify the street and turn the spots into greenspace. 

"Everybody would love more green space, everyone would love to have it more appealing, but you still have to run a business," Wyss said.

These same owners argue taking away parking spots will make the adjacent neighborhood and parks less safe. 

Some upset business owners in Royal Oak are sounding off about proposed changes.

"If we lose the parking spots in front of the building, it’s going to push into residential areas. and the parking for the new Normandy Oaks Park back here," said Brad Kelly, Fire Defense Equipment Inc.

Correction: The city commission directed staff to prepare a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding application for commission consideration this spring, and to present a parallel street parking concept to the Royal Oak Citizen’s Traffic Committee to allow for additional public input in March. The findings are to be brought back to the city commission in April for deliberation.